CAPE MAY — The search continued on Thursday off Cape May for the pilot who'd been on board a small plane that crashed near the Cape May Lighthouse the day before..

The plane left the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport on Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. and crashed in 18 feet of water 1,200 feet from the Cape May Lighthouse, according to the FAA, which said there was only one person on board when the plane left.

State Police spokesman Lt. Ted Schafer on Thursday said the pilot was not found on board the Mooney M20J when it was recovered, and the T.E.A.M.S. tactical team divers will return to continue the search on Thursday, conditions permitting.

The continuing search also closed Cape May Point State Park and the lighthouse, according to the DEP which operates the park.

Patty Oat told 6 ABC Action News she heard "a big explosion" when the plane hit the water around 11:25 on Wednesday.

Plane owner Lisa Campbell of Air-Mods Flight Training Center says the pilot was a regular customer who flew recreationally.

The NTSB is also investigating the cause of the crash.

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